After hearing from PETA US and following a complaint from PETA Germany, UIPM – the international governing body of the modern pentathlon – has voted to remove horse riding from the modern pentathlon. The cruel event will be replaced by a sport involving only human competitors who choose to participate.
This is an Olympic-size win for horses! Thank you to everyone who took action.
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Why the Modern Pentathlon Will Replace Horses
The move follows the scandal surrounding pentathlon competitor Annika Schleu, who was filmed whipping and spurring a horse named Saint Boy during the show-jumping portion of the modern pentathlon at this year’s Tokyo Olympics.
Terrified, Saint Boy refused to enter the course. As Schleu’s frustration increased, her coach, Kim Raisner, was shown hitting the clearly startled horse.
What’s Wrong With Equestrian Events?
This abusive behaviour wasn’t an anomaly. Earlier this year in California, show jumper Kevin Lemke aggressively and repeatedly hit a horse named Good Luck. PETA US reported the incident, and Lemke was suspended and fined.
But fines and suspensions clearly aren’t enough to deter other trainers and riders from similar reckless behaviour.
These events are dangerous. Jet Set, ridden by Swiss competitor Robin Godel, was injured this year in the middle of a cross-country course during an Olympic competition. Veterinarians diagnosed the injury as an irreparable ligament rupture in one of his legs, and he was euthanised.
During another show-jumping event in the Tokyo Olympics, blood poured from Kilkenny’s nose, and although it was clearly visible to those watching, Irish rider Cian O’Connor forced the horse to finish the course. Nothing was done by officials to stop the competition to check on him.
Horses Don’t Care About Gold Medals
Unlike humans, horses don’t choose to participate in these dangerous events – they’re forced to.
Please take action to call on the International Olympic Committee to remove all equestrian events immediately and leave the Olympics to only willing participants.